It’s the tension-filled night of April 27th and the first day of the draft in Philadelphia. What has been defined as a weak quarterback class by many in the months leading up to the 2017 edition, and not so unsurprisingly, still results in two passers going in the top two overall picks to the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers. A quarterback drought and the importance of the position will drive NFL team executives insane to no end.
The two respective organizations were said to have been wrestling with the contentious decision to “reach” on a quarterback. In the end, both decided it best to get their guys in North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson under center before teams such as the Chicago Bears or New York Jets snatched them up later.
Now, the studious and freakishly built consensus No. 1 overall pick, Myles Garrett of Texas A&M, is sitting in the green room, stunned. Bears general manager Ryan Pace is back at the Halas Hall war room, reclining slowly into his spinning desk chair, also shocked.
The unthinkable has happened. The projected All-Pro pass rusher in Garrett, who has drawn comparisons to Julius Peppers, is there for the Bears for the taking. And in the end, Chicago rushes to get their selection in with no hesitation as the organization moves to cement it’s now beyond dynamic pass rushing with Garrett and sophomore phenomenon, Leonard Floyd, for years.
A worthwhile, tantalizing prospect for the lakefront that seems like only a dream right now.
In the NFL world, it’d likely take the movement of the heavens and Earth for Garrett to be available to Chicago, let alone for him to last past the top pick. Yet organizations such as the Browns and 49ers, even the Bears, can tend to psyche themselves out. There’s partly a reason as to why they’re picking in the top three, after all.
With just a few days left until the climactic moment for many franchises (particularly Pace’s Bears regime), it’s peak “lying season”, so take every rumor with a grain of salt. Teams are positioning more than ever to trick each other or to work for trades in potential negotiations of picks behind the scenes. The landscape however testy, is becoming clear, and you have to sift through it still.
From another perspective, relative new football operations management in Cleveland led by general manager Sashi Brown, is said to exclusively want Garrett with the first overall pick. It’s ownership and Jimmy Haslam who are the ones pushing for a quarterback, namely Trubisky.
Meanwhile, completely new management in San Francisco led by general manager John Lynch and head coach, Kyle Shanahan, supposedly may not even take a Watson type and instead go with LSU running back, Leonard Fournette. Not as a matter of best player available, but as their first preference.
In that second scenario, with the hometown Cleveland kid in Trubisky gone to the Browns due to their fears of his lack of availability later, and Fournette safely entrenched in the 49ers’ backfield, Garrett is sitting there, waiting. With the Browns’ aggression and psychosis over potentially losing Trubisky as they explore trade after trade with other teams in the top-10, the potential All-Pro pass rusher is only biding his time.
This all would come on the heels of reports that the Bears don’t want a quarterback at No. 3 overall (which almost certainly means they’re instead, definitely considering one there). If Garrett falls to them through great fortune, that plan goes out the window, as does every other draft contingency for their first-round pick. You can safely believe that.
So, the Bears are on the clock.
Garrett is now patiently awaiting his name to be called at any moment as the Browns regrettably remember his warning to them about not taking him in an ESPN interview, “And because if you don't draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years,” (Chicago plays Cleveland this year, to note).
If you’re the Bears, do you trade the pick for a tremendous draft haul that could garner multiple future selections or a treasure trove in a deep 2017 class? Or do you take the franchise pass rusher in appreciation of the football gods smiling upon your team, and worry about all problems later?
It’s an interesting dilemma and one that in my mind the Bears wouldn’t think twice about.
Pace, with approval from the rest of his brain trust in head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, would take the generational talent in Garrett. They’d know that they still have to find their quarterback of the future and potentially work their way back into the back half of the first round, but there’s no way they pass on an opportunity like this. This would be a franchise defining-move that they wouldn’t pass on.
As noted, the likelihood of Garrett falling, isn’t very high.
He’s the consensus best player in this draft for a reason. There’s a significant drop-off in immediate impact and ceiling of talent after him. It’s probably best to step out of this fantasy altogether in that regard. No one can be that illogical. It’s almost too much of a slam dunk for any NFL organization.
But then again, what’s the point of hope? Take the high road. When was the last time the Bears enjoyed such a luck of the draw? From Terry Bradshaw in 1970 to the current Rams’ Aaron Donald in 2014, it’s been a rough past. There are more examples in between, but you get the gist of this snakebitten organization just missing out on franchise players. If you believe in that notion, they’re now due, and you never know.
Besides, it seems like Garrett has the right mindset as he listed the quarterbacks he most wants to sack in the NFL to fellow Texas A&M alum and Denver Broncos superstar, Von Miller.
“It’s gotta be Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers ...”
Stop right there. Garrett would fit perfectly in Chicago.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is a staff writer for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.